Sometimes, I wish I could just quote an entire article. This time it's this one from the Associated Press called "White House tries to keep momentum on gun control." In our local paper, however, it's titled "Obama tries to maintain gun control momentum." Though this wording may seem like a small difference, it's really not. I understand some about column width and spacing, but in a pro-gun state like Tennessee, attaching Obama's name to an unpopular issue has got to be intentional. But my point is not the headline, really. Instead, I just had to add my voice to the fray over gun control.
I'll be upfront: I am completely, totally, vehemently anti-gun. I hate the things. Perhaps this comes from losing a friend to a gun accident in middle school. Perhaps it is merely an extension of my abhorrence for all violence. Regardless of the reason, I wish there were no such things as guns; however, I live in the real world, and I acknowledge not everyone shares my extreme position. Thus, I understand the need to preserve folks' rights to own a gun if they wish.
Simultaneously, though, I support much more stringent restrictions of those rights. It just doesn't make sense to me why anyone - ANYONE - would need a machine gun capable of firing hundreds of rounds a minute. I think you should be allowed to own a gun if you have followed logical safety precautions and regulations like licensing, training, etc. . . ., but I don't understand why you need more than one. If you do need more than one, you should have to explain why and be approved for any multiple gun purchases. In my mind, more guns equals more pain - not more safety, or more protection, or any of the other things gun advocates will argue. You are entitled to believe it; I'm just entitled to disagree.
So, after Newtown, when it felt like the rest of the country was finally beginning to have some sense and demand better regulations of this monstrosity, I had some hope. Today, when I read this article with its opening sentence
Less than a month after a horrific elementary school shooting, the White House is fighting to keep the momentum for new gun legislation amid signs it's losing ground in Congress to other pressing issues.I am reminded of how blindingly entrenched people can be in their own tiny worlds. When I read that Mitch McConnell feels "The biggest problem we have at the moment is spending and debt. ...None of these issues will have the kind of priority as spending and debt over the next two or three months," I am disheartened by the wrongheadedness of our current political system. When I read that "A coalition of conservative groups also is organizing a 'gun appreciation day' later this month, to coincide with Obama's inauguration," I am disgusted.
Appreciation days are designed as ways to honor those that might not get regularly acknowledged for their service. Administrative Assistant Appreciation Day, Teacher Appreciation Day, Postal Worker Appreciation Day. But Gun Appreciation Day? What, so your gun will know how much it means to you? And to schedule it with the inauguration, to sully an important event for all Americans, is simply destructive.
The article goes on to outline the completely reasonable recommendations from the White House and to indicate that some of their suggestions could be enacted without the approval of Congress. Mr. President, let this stand as my formal request:
Let Congress spin its wheels in the mud of "spending and debt" and go nowhere from January to March. The rest of us can stand and applaud as you take the reasonable but not radical steps to protect all of us. Because sometimes the biggest protection we need is from ourselves.
**For some incredibly interesting analysis and provoking statistics about worldwide gun ownership and gun violence, get your hands on this Time article, "Arms Race." And as always, feel free to disagree in the comments below.